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British smartphone owners fear using their devices in public

Many British smartphone and tablet owners do not feel safe using their devices in public, a new study has revealed.

According to research carried out by specialist tech insurer Protect Your Bubble, 82 per cent of the UK’s tablet owners and 44 per cent of mobile owners never use their devices in public. What’s more, a staggeringly high 24 per cent of Brits suggested that they do not feel safe carrying any portable gadgets around at all.

Although claims data from the past year showed Brighton and Manchester were 2012’s hotspots for mobile phone thefts, followed by Leicester, Belfast and London, the study has revealed that those living in the West Midlands feel the least safe. In contrast, residents in the South West of England feel the safest brandishing their pricey tech in public.

The survey, which questioned 1,000 British gadget owners, also revealed that 40 per cent of Brits regularly hide their gadgets whilst in public, as they are scared of being targeted by thieves. A further one in ten say the reason they hide their electronic belongings is because they’ve had their gadgets stolen before and do not want to be victims again.

“Handheld devices like mobile phones and tablets are easy pickings for gadget thieves because they’re conveniently small and victims are likely to be distracted.” Stephen Ebbett, director of Protect Your Bubble said. “If you need to make a phone call, do it in a place where you can see what’s going on around you – preferably with your back to a wall.

He added: “When your phone isn’t being used, keep it safe and out of sight in a zipped-up pocket or bag.”

In order to overcome gadget theft the majority of people surveyed (25 per cent) believe not using portable gadgets in public altogether would prevent the problem, whilst another 8 per cent think that people should only buy cheap gadgets. Although, 13 per cent of people would like to see harsher sentences for gadget thieves and another 13 per cent believe an increase of police officers on the streets would decrease gadget theft.

Brits have also been turning to more in-built tracking software, as 15 per cent suggested services such as ‘Find My iPhone’ are a potential answer to gadget crime, whilst 20 per cent of those surveyed would like have the ability to remotely render gadgets completely and permanently useless to thieves.

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